co-work·ing (pronounced: kōˈwərkiNG), noun:

The use of an office or other working environment by people who are self-employed or working for different employers, typically so as to share equipment, ideas, and knowledge.

coworking_badajozWhat exactly is coworking? The answer is complex, yet simple at the same time. Underlying principles of coworking can be traced back hundreds of years to communities of artist and writers. However, today’s version of coworking is decidedly different. It is unique and exponentially expanding, especially in the metro Detroit area.

Coworking, as it is understood today, is a relatively new concept where individuals work independently, nonetheless together. It involves a shared work environment of people from a variety of organizations and industries. Coworking spaces typically attract young professionals, freelancers, independent contractors and the space is an attractive alternative to working at home. The Cowork experience is also a solution to the isolation that many freelancers experience as well as it allows the worker to escape the distraction of home.

There is a natural synergy that occurs when groups of individuals, who share the same values, come together to work under the same roof. Coworking is about community and collaboration. The social aspect allows coworking spaces to distinguish themselves from business accelerators or incubators. Coworks are informal and based on cooperative management practices. The coworkers themselves value autonomy. Although, studies have shown that too much autonomy and lack of routine can hinder productivity, the community aspect of coworking counterbalances this finding. The community work environment creates informal structures and discipline that motivates them. Autonomy mixed with the right amount of social professionalism creates the optimal degree of control for independent workers – leading to the finding that freelancers and independent workers thrive in community work environments.

In fact, coworking is more than just a workspace, it is an entire social movement. There is a social mission intrinsically within the “Coworking Manifesto”. This online document articulates that the values of the coworking movement that include community, collaboration, learning and sustainability. Coworking is shaping the economic landscape through individualism, entrepreneurship, innovation and most importantly creative, strategic networking.

All of this being said, perhaps it is just a matter of time before Auburn Hills has a cowork space of its own…

Sam Mariuz, Management Assistant

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